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Relate and abusive relationships

(88 Posts)
diege Fri 26-Feb-16 18:48:49

So, to keep it brief, my emotionally abusive husband has booked us into Relate for couples counselling. I KNOW from my Lundy Bancroft reading that this is only going to 'tighten the nut' but as he seems so adamant what would be the benefits of going? (for me now, not the relationship) Would Relate spot it and see it or tell me I need to work in the relationship dynamics myself?

aLeafFalls Fri 26-Feb-16 18:53:46

Can only speak for myself, but no, Relate didn't spot it and actually made things much worse. Counsellor really fell for my seriously abusive husband's charm offensive and minimised his behaviour.

One session, when I tentatively broached his violence to me, she cut in with " But he doesn't do that any more does he." - not a question, a statement.
I was actually covered in bruises from a beating the previous night, but didn't say anything because of her dismissive and ignorant attitude.

That was over 10 years ago, so the training might be better. But I've found an abuser will use anything to abuse you with, including counselling.

kittybiscuits Fri 26-Feb-16 18:56:06

Same here, unfortunately. Nothing good can come out of couple counselling with an abusive partner.

Marchate Fri 26-Feb-16 18:56:33

They probably will not spot it, sadly

He has been very clever, arranging it! Isn't he going to look like the ideal man, ready to take advice about saving the marriage?! The counsellor will be so impressed by him. In comparison, you will look unwilling to engage with counselling

Or I might be wrong. Maybe they will spot that he's abusive(??) Oh, I hope so for your sake x

diege Fri 26-Feb-16 19:03:05

Thank you. Yes, I think you're right and agree how 'reasonable' it will make him look (he's a mix of Mr Sensitive and The victim in the Bancroft abuser profiles). Its only been a month or so since I've called him on the abuse and have started to emotionally distance myself. He's into the classic pattern of abusive behaviour then 'mr nice' for a few days and is saying its my feelings/responses to his behaviour that are wrong and that a 'third person" will help me to see this...Oh it's going to be a nightmare isn't it ...

Unhappyexpat Fri 26-Feb-16 19:03:48

No benefits to you at all. You will be encouraged to reveal/be open and he will use that against you.
Don't go.

AnyFucker Fri 26-Feb-16 19:05:46

Do not do joint counselling with this man. You will regret it.

PurpleWithRed Fri 26-Feb-16 19:05:49

Why is Relate even coming into the picture here - aren't you making plans to leave him?

Marchate Fri 26-Feb-16 19:06:51

Second that. Don't go. Do something to preempt it. Talk to your GP perhaps? Tell her as much as you can about the abuse

diege Fri 26-Feb-16 19:08:24

I am making plans and I do know it can't be rescued. I've think he's sensed this hence the appointment.

aLeafFalls Fri 26-Feb-16 19:08:50

Everything I said was used against me, either in sessions or years later. It was terribly damaging to my self- confidence.
I read recently on MN that most counsellors are trained to give equal weight to each partner.
An abuser will use that to run circles round you and the counsellor.

diege Fri 26-Feb-16 19:12:33

Its actually the gp who suggested Relate to him after he told her we're not communicating properly. I had been telling him to go for a while as he has symptoms if depression (which I know is separate to the controlling behaviour). She says he 'has a lot on his plate' and we could benefit from now he has it all worked out having had this confirmed by a professional..

Marchate Fri 26-Feb-16 19:15:03

Haha, he told her we're not communicating properly! So he got his point of view in first. That's in the script too...

Marchate Fri 26-Feb-16 19:16:06

Sorry about the haha. Not appropriate

goddessofsmallthings Fri 26-Feb-16 19:20:12

Relate was once the Marriage Guidance Council founded by Herbert Gray, a clergyman, back in the 1930's. Its remit was to bring Christian principles to bear on mending marriages and from their current mission statement it doesn't appear to me that they've strayed far from their origins.

I daresay that Leaf's pisspoor counsellor is still plying her trade and still blind to what's going on under her nose when she's faced with couples such as Leaf and her h.

Your h is 'adamant' about going because it will provide him with opportunity to use his charm to abuse you further. If you were able to verbally tie him in knots I suspect that a Relate counsellor would see you as being aggressive and him as the downtrodden victim, but as it is he'll make sure he's centre stage and you'll be the bit part player who needs direction from a counsellor to defer to the star of his the show.

I can't see any benefit to you from going along with him and, imo, you're best advised to spend your money on a solicitor who specialises in divorce and family law and has specific expertise in cases of domestic abuse.

goddessofsmallthings Fri 26-Feb-16 19:27:35

He's already got his GP eating out of his hand and you don't need a crystal ball to predict what will happen if you attend a Relate session with him - he'll be walking on water while you're drowning, OP.

AnotherEmma Fri 26-Feb-16 19:42:37

Could you stall it by suggesting that you each get individual counselling (him for his apparent depression, which may exist or may just be an excuse for the abuse) before doing Relate? Then just make sure you leave before it comes to that!

pablothepenguin Fri 26-Feb-16 19:43:46

I have recently been to Relate by myself to try and work out how I feel about my relationship. I don't think I'm comfortable describing my DH as abusive but I have been reading Lundy this week and relate very strongly to what is described.

I've only had one proper session, after the initial assessment appointment, so I can't really judge properly yet, but I felt quite bad about it. I felt like I was being pushed into working in our relationship. Which in hindsight fits with what goddess had linked to. I'm going to try approach the next session with an open mind. I'd need to feel a lot more confident about the counsellor and process before I consider going with DH (who like yourself DH would happily go).

ladybird69 Fri 26-Feb-16 19:57:43

sorry Op haven't read all of your thread. I don't need to. I attended relate with my abusive ex, the counsellor just enabled him to carry on abuse thru isolation, manipulation and passive aggressive behaviour. so NO DONT GO TO RELATE WITH YOUR ABUSER!!!!!! flowers

BertieBotts Fri 26-Feb-16 20:04:26

Tell him to go to relate alone, it might do him some good <hollow laugh>

Get the solicitor on standby...

diege Fri 26-Feb-16 20:11:14

I just know he'll use my reluctance as further evidence of my inability to understand what good communication looks like and that I'm the problem. He knows I think he's controlling but is always keen to say it's a joint thing and that I overreact because of my upbringing...(classic script I know..). I just feel so tired with it all and want the situation to go away but I know that's not an option.

Marchate Fri 26-Feb-16 20:20:53

Yes, he will do that, but...

It's better than the two-against-one situation you will find yourself in at the Relate session

AnotherEmma Fri 26-Feb-16 20:27:34

The only way to make the situation go away is to make him go away.

What's that saying - you can't reason with stupid? In this case, you can't reason with abusive.

AnotherEmma Fri 26-Feb-16 20:29:08

You could tell him you'll get individual counselling "to work on your communication skills" when in fact it's to get some support for dealing with the negative effects of his abuse and leaving him.

AnotherEmma Fri 26-Feb-16 20:30:12

And to work on your "overreactions" and "issues from your upbringing"... Just make up a load of lies to make him think you're listening.

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